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20 Wall Clocks That Are Decidedly Modern

It’s time to add this classic, useful piece to your space.
Elizabeth Brown Jun 11, 2021
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Man has always had a fascination with time. Ever since the Sumerians in Mesopotamia in roughly 3500 B.C., sundials have been used to mark the passage of the day. (This sophisticated ancient society is to thank for the 60-unit time system.) It’s possible to argue that telling time was essential to forming civilized workdays  by helping craft a framework, thus allowing for set meetings and deadlines. These early timetellers were used until the 19th century to set clocks to local time zones—but they were stages away from modern wall clocks of today.

The Evolution of Wall Clocks

Fast-forward through time from 3500 B.C. to Europe in the 14th century, when mechanical clocks were in use. By 1656, the pendulum clock had been invented by Dutchman Christiaan Huygens. He developed the balance spring, which helps regulate the mechanics (thus, making it more accurate). But these clocks were mainly housed in cumbersome, albeit stately, cabinets until smaller ones, such as the cuckoo-style, were invented.

As interior trends and lifestyles evolved, so did the clock—especially, as balance spring technology for timepieces was perfected. (A rudimentary version of this was invented in 1511 by German Peter Henlein, though calling it unreliable is being generous, considering its flaws.) The industrial era gave way to mass production, thus making simpler designs available to all. Eventually, round frames were ushered in to house the circular clock face. 

Modern designs sprang from between the Art Deco period and the Space Age, giving way to today’s wall clock. Mid-century modern design produced several captivating styles, such as the famous Ball clock. The Minimalist design movement proposed a blank clock face sans numerals with just hour and minute hands.  

Editor’s Picks: Best Modern Wall Clocks

Despite nearly everyone having a time-telling device neatly packaged in a smartphone, wall clocks are still helpful in today’s work, school, and public spaces. It keeps everyone on the same time, eliminating any discrepancies. Additionally, these devices can also add a stately, graphic element of interest in any space. Nest Casa sourced these 20 stylish wall clocks, which have been divided into categories according to style, for keeping time while adding personality to any room.

Mid-Century Modern Wall Clocks

Lovers of this popular movement (which is reaching new heights as today’s generation discovers the style) will delight in its application on these decorative and highly conceived styles. Included are designs by artists and studios such as George Nelson and Herman Miller.

Minimalist Modern Wall Clocks

These styles subscribe to the less is more theory. In this case, this means barely-there (or, completely bare) clock faces, where simplicity is the defining characteristic.

Maximalist Modern Wall Clocks

Of course, some follow the “more is better” design ethos. Take, for instance, this highly decorative porcelain sunburst clock made by German mark Hutschenreuther in the 1960s. Its mesmerizing design might have one forgetting that it’s a clock he or she is viewing.

Modern Art Wall Clocks

In some cases, a wall clock merely serves as an excuse to create art (it also happens to tell time). In one example, Gaetano Pesce abstracts a sun motif onto this irregularly blown orange and blue glass. In another, from George Nelson, a playful use of domino chips is featured in place of numbers.

White-Face Modern Wall Clocks

Just because a wall clock is modern doesn’t mean that it should completely eschew tradition. Modern clocks tend to use white faces for easy readability. That holds true of these styles, which  similarly possess an au courant look.

Wood Modern Wall Clocks

The classic, organic material proves, once more, to be versatile and modern. A far cry from the wooden cabinets used to house pendulum styles, these wood clocks are forward and graphic. One style mimics a wood-grain frame, constructed from finely placed rattan.

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